Keynote Speakers



Wednesday 27 November
Thursday 28 November
Friday 29 November 



The University of Melbourne
Sidney Myer Asia Centre
761 Swanston St, Parkville, VIC




About the Keynote Speakers


Director, Cromach Careers

SESSIONS: Wed 27 - Masterclass 2, Thu 28 - Keynote 2, Fri 29 - Workshop 3

Col McCowan OAM is a registered psychologist, teacher and counsellor who worked for Education Queensland for 20 years in a range of positions including; guidance counsellor, resource developer, curriculum developer, training officer, and principal policy officer. He became an academic and then manager of the highly successful Careers and Employment Service for 15 years at the Queensland University of Technology. He has won numerous national/international awards including the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to the career industry in Australia. He works as a consultant for organisations such as UNESCO, UNDP, NICEC, ADB, AusAID, and in a pro-bono capacity, for the countries of Bhutan, India, Mongolia, Oman, Thailand, UAE, and Vietnam. He has authored/co-authored a number of career-related books and research articles and recently documented his practical work for these countries in the book, Introducing Career Education and Development: A guide for personnel in educational institutions in developed and developing countries.


Associate Professor, School of Education, The University of Queensland

SESSIONS: Wed 27 - Masterclass 1, Fri 29 - Workshop 4

Dr Mary McMahon is an Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Education at The University of Queensland. With a background in secondary school education and career guidance, Mary has worked in the field of career development for over 30 years. She is the developer and co-author of the internationally recognised Systems Theory Framework of Career Development which takes a holistic ‘individual in context’ view of career development. A focus of her work has been the application of systems thinking and systems mapping to career theory, research and practice. Mary researches career development across the lifespan and narrative and systems approaches to career counselling and qualitative career assessment. Mary is particularly interested in the career development of children and adolescents and how career education can support them. She is also interested in assisting school personnel develop skills and knowledge in career education.


Assistant Secretary, Department of Employment, Skills, Small & Family Business

SESSIONS: Thu 28 - Update 2

Ivan Neville is the manager of the Labour Market Research and Analysis Branch in the Australian Government Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business (formerly the Department of Jobs and Small Business). Ivan leads a team that undertakes in-depth analysis on a range of Australian labour market issues, including identifying the current and future demand for skills; understanding recruitment issues and what employers are looking for; and helping job seekers prepare for the changing world of work. Ivan has had an extensive career in a range of labour market research, statistics and policy roles in a number of government organisations. Ivan is regularly asked to provide his unique perspective on the ever evolving labour market story and he delivers presentations both nationally and overseas.


SESSIONS: Wed 27 - Keynote

Losing 98% of your eyesight overnight is something that is simply unimaginable for most people however this was reality for Ben Pettingill at age 16. Out of no where Ben found himself faced with extreme adversity thanks to a rare genetic syndrome that no one knew was coming. The sudden change was massive and the challenges came thick and fast in all different shapes and sizes. Building resilience, discovering a new perspective and learning the importance of a strong support network were all vital parts of Ben navigating from complete denial about what had happened to embracing and taking ownership of his new situation. Doing so empowered him to make the choice to  focus on possibilities and opportunities instead of loss and difficulty.

Ben shares his incredibly powerful messages with audiences around the country and he could also be described as an adrenalin junkie competing in waterski racing, obstacle course races and riding motorbikes. Ben is the living example that the biggest limit in your life is you. 


Dean, Research and Innovation, Division of Education, Arts & Social Sciences, University of South Australia

SESSIONS: Wed 27 - Masterclass 3, Thu 28 - Keynote 1, Fri 29 - Workshop 10

Professor Nancy Arthur recently joined the University of South Australia as Dean: Research and Innovation, Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences. Before moving from Canada to Australia, Nancy was a Professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of Calgary.  Nancy’s recent research focuses on the Culture-Infused Career Counselling model,  diversity and social justice competencies for career development practitioners, and the transition experiences of international students and workers. Nancy’s book publications include editor for Counselling in Cultural Contexts: Identities and Social Justice (Springer, 2018), and co-editor for Career Theories and Models at Work: Ideas for Practice (CERIC, 2019) and Contemporary Theories of Career Development: International Perspectives (Routledge, 2019). Nancy served as a Vice-President of the International Association of Educational and Vocational Guidance; she is an elected Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association and Honorary member of the Career Development Association of Alberta.


Executive Director, Career Industry Council of Australia (CICA)

SESSIONS:  Thu 28 -Workshop 4, Fri 29 - Keynote

David is the current Executive Director of  the Career Industry Council of Australia. He has more than 20 year’s experience working
in the career development industry and is
recognised nationally and internationally for
the knowledge and expertise he brings to
the field. He is a passionate advocate and
contributor to improving quality and access
to career development services in Australia
including the development of professional
standards, quality frameworks, online
services, practitioner registration, workforce
career development and a range of national
career development initiatives. David has
and continues to be a member and active
contributor to a broad range of government
and corporate consultative and advisory
bodies in the area of career development,
employment and workforce development. 

With thanks to the 2019 CEAV Conference Sponsors - for more information about our sponsors, please visit the 'Sponsors Page'